Over 150 area businesses aided by loan program

The federal government has provided more than $590 billion dollars to lenders to distribute low-interest loans to the self-employed, businesses, companies and nonprofit organizations affected economically by the COVID-19 pandemic. ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom that specializes in investigative journalism, maintains a database listing details of the more than six million loans made nationwide .

More than 200 Illinois companies received PPP loan dollars between $5 and $10 million dollars, the maximum amount. The majority of the 271,921 loans made to businesses in the state went to borrowers that asked for $150,000 dollars or less. As of today, that number stands at 238,281.

The database, which is searchable by name, industry, city and zip code among other criteria, reports that 100 businesses in the St. Joseph 61873 zip code and 52 in Tolono's 61880 were awarded loans. The online resource lists the business name, amount and date the loan was approved.

Information from other loan programs, such as Economic Injury Disaster Loans, are currently not reported in the ProPublica resource.

Search for PPP loan applications by organization, lender, zip code and business type.

Budget plan pushes nine new taxes on Illinois tax payers worth nearly $1 billion

by Adam Schuster, Senior Director of Budget and
Tax Research

Illinois Policy

In the annual governor’s budget address on Feb. 17, Gov. J.B. Pritzker presented a $41.6 billion budget for fiscal year 2022 that holds spending flat for education as well as most state operating spending.

Pritzker was tasked with closing a $4.8 billion deficit reported in November 2020, which would have grown to $5.5 billion including a $690 million payment towards recent borrowing from the Federal Reserve.

Pritzker’s budget relies heavily on nine different tax increases, mostly targeted at businesses, to raise $932 million in revenue. In his speech and in documents from the governor’s budget office the tax increases are branded as "closing corporate tax loopholes." However, none of the exemptions or credits Pritzker is proposing to limit or eliminate can be fairly described as "loopholes." Several do not apply exclusively to corporations.

For example, one Pritzker proposal would reduce the value of a tax credit scholarship program that helps disadvantaged students afford private school education through donations from both corporations and individuals. Another of the proposals does not pertain to any type of credit or deduction, but rather reimposes the states’ arcane “corporate franchise tax,” which is scheduled to phase out through 2024 under current law. And another is a new tax on gasolines that is expected to hurt Illinois farmers and add 20 cents per gallon of diesel.

The state budget law requires the governor to propose a budget that is balanced using only revenues in law at the time the budget is proposed. That requirement was ignored in Pritzker’s first and second budget proposals, and these nine new taxes mean it is in his third budget as well.

We urge the governor to stop championing policies that will put Illinoisans on the unemployment lines
Even with these tax increases, Pritzker’s budget proposal is not truly balanced. It includes no reforms to pensions or other structural overspending that would address the state’s long-term deficit. Instead, the budget makes liberal use of budget gimmicks such as changing the timing of payments – moving some debt service back to fiscal year 2021 while pushing other payments farther into the future – and sweeping $565 million from other state accounts. Instead of going to the road fund and capital projects, Pritzker would redirect sales tax revenue from gasoline sales and cigarette tax receipts to the general fund.

Changing the timing of payments allows Pritzker to avoid counting nearly $1 billion in costs toward this year’s budget – $276 million in interfund debt service that was delayed and the $690 million federal reserve borrowing that was moved forward. However, changing the timing of payments does not improve the state’s overall financial condition. It’s an accounting shell game to make the budget appear balanced on paper.

The rest of the deficit is covered by spending freezes worth $1.27 billion and significantly more optimistic revenue assumptions compared to those the governor’s office released in November 2020. Those spending changes are not actual cuts compared to prior-year spending, but rather canceling automatic spending growth that is assumed as part of the state’s baseline budgeting method.

More optimistic revenue projections account for the largest reduction in the deficit, on paper, at $1.88 billion. The governor’s office also raised revenue projections by $2.3 billion for the current fiscal year 2021, which “closes” this year’s $3.9 billion deficit if December’s $2 billion in borrowing from the federal reserve is counted as revenue. Illinois has a history of counting debt as revenue and relying on optimistic revenue projections to cover deficits on paper, but this optimism is often wrong. That helps explain why politicians claim to pass a balanced budget each year, but the budget has not actually ended a year in the black since fiscal year 2001.

While state and local revenue collections in Illinois and across the country have been beating estimates made early in the pandemic, the November revenue projections from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget were already $2.2 billion higher than projected in April 2020. It’s unclear that economic conditions since November have changed enough to justify another large upwards revision.

All together, Pritzker’s budget proposal fails to offer the significant financial reforms needed to protect Illinois taxpayers, preserve services for the vulnerable in the long term and ensure the state has a strong recovery from COVID-19. Illinois’ personal income growth was the second worst in the nation following the Great Recession, in part because of tax hikes that hurt the recovery. Pritzker’s various proposed tax increases on businesses threaten to hold back Illinois’ ability to create good-paying jobs and grow wages for its residents as the state recovers from a pandemic-induced recession.

Lawmakers are largely expected to receive $7.5 billion in unrestricted aid for the state budget from the federal government under the $350 billion state and local bailout proposed by President Biden’s administration. This lifeline provides Illinois with breathing room to make the long-term changes necessary to stabilize state finances, starting with pension reform. The General Assembly should also use that aid to cancel all nine of the pandemic tax increases from the governor’s budget proposal.

Here are Pritzker’s nine tax increase proposals:

Cap, delay credits for business operating losses by three years: $314 million

When a company loses money in a given year, known as a net operating loss, federal and state tax laws generally allow at least some portion of that loss to be carried forward to future years as a proportional offset to future tax liability. In other words, if a business loses money in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic, but earns a profit in 2022, it can deduct the two years of losses from its earnings in 2022 and pay taxes only on the difference.

For purposes of state taxes, Pritzker wants to limit losses carried forward to $100,000 for the next three years. Businesses would still be able to carry forward losses above that amount but couldn’t claim the deduction until three years from now.

This change would reduce businesses’ cash on hand to make investments in equipment, new jobs or raises for employees. It would therefore hurt Illinois’ ability to recover economically from COVID-19. Because the full value of the credits is only delayed, it has the potential to create a significant revenue drop in the future when businesses try to collect on the full value of the credits.

Delay expensing of business investments: $214 million

Illinois automatically adopts certain changes in federal tax law as part of Illinois tax law through what’s called “rolling conformity,” meaning state law points back to the Internal Revenue Code and automatically updates certain provisions to match. Pritzker wants to decouple from federal provisions intended to promote pro-growth investments.

Federal tax reform in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included several changes intended to bolster business investments and promote economic growth. One of these changes was to allow full and immediate expensing, meaning companies can deduct the entire cost of an investment in the year it was made, rather than dragging out the expensing over the lifecycle of an asset.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act applied this concept, also called 100% bonus depreciation, to investments with a useable lifetime of 20 years or less, such as machinery and equipment. Long-term investments in buildings must still be expensed over time. The changes for short-term investments are scheduled to phase out beginning in 2022 and expire in 2026. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation has argued for making these changes permanent, because delaying deductions for investments increases the cost to businesses and discourages investments that help grow the economy.

"Stretching depreciation deductions for capital investment over time means a business can’t fully recover the cost of making the investment. This discourages businesses from making productive investments that would otherwise be worthwhile to pursue," the Tax Foundation stated.

Pritzker’s proposed change would immediately revert to the prior system of stretching out the deduction for Illinois taxes, discouraging the very investments that will help Illinois recover from the COVID-19 economic downturn.

Double-tax profits U.S. companies earn abroad: $107 million

Another aspect of federal tax reform in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was to move from a “worldwide” towards a “territorial” corporate tax system, in part to encourage companies to repatriate money held overseas. One of the most important aspects of this reform was to end double taxation on profits U.S. companies earned overseas by allowing a 100% deduction for foreign dividends paid to the parent company. Those profits would have already faced taxation in the country where the income was earned.

Pritzker proposes eliminating the credit for foreign dividends, which could discourage those profits from being repatriated and brought to Illinois if the profits would receive more favorable tax treatment overseas.

New sales tax on biodiesel gasoline: $107 million

Under current law, fuel with a biodiesel content greater than 10% or ethanol content of at least 70% is exempt from Illinois sales taxes. The exemption is scheduled to expire in 2024, but Pritzker would eliminate the credit immediately.

Illinois Fuel and Retail Association CEO Josh Sharp responded: “This change would add approximately 20 cents to a gallon of diesel fuel and is especially egregious considering that Illinois is one of only six states that already imposes a sales tax on motor fuels. Ending this incentive would also be incredibly damaging to our vital agriculture community in Illinois and hurt my small business members at a time when it’s so easy for customers to drive across state lines to fill up their vehicles.”

Limit retailers’ reimbursement for collecting state sales tax: $73 million

Retail stores in Illinois collect and remit sales tax on behalf of the state, which has an administrative cost. To reimburse retailers for this service to the state, current law allows retailers to keep 1.75% of the sales taxes they collect as compensation. Pritzker wants to limit retailers’ reimbursement to $1,000 per month.

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association said the current 1.75% amount already “only partially reimburses” store owners for their cost. The statement continued, “Shifting more of the cost of administration and collection onto retailers does nothing to support struggling businesses and indicates the governor fails to fully appreciate all that retail contributes to our state, which prior to the pandemic employed one-fifth of all workers in Illinois and served as the second largest revenue generator for state government and the largest revenue generator for local governments.”

Limit manufacturing equipment sales tax exemption: $56 million

The purchase of manufacturing machinery and equipment is generally exempt from Illinois sales taxes. In 2019, this exemption was expanded to include “tangible personal property” used in the manufacturing process, such as fuels, coolants and oil consumed in the manufacturing process. Pritzker is proposing to reverse that recent change.

According to the Sales Tax Institute, the expansion brought Illinois’ manufacturing credits more in line with nearby states.

Illinois’ manufacturing industry has consistently lagged other Midwest states since the Great Recession. Even before COVID-19, Illinois lost 13,100 manufacturing jobs in 2019 – the largest percentage loss of any job sector.

Steve Rauschenberger, president of the Technology and Manufacturing Association, singled out the elimination of this expanded exemption in his reaction to Pritzker’s budget proposal. "We urge the governor to stop championing policies that will put Illinoisans on the unemployment lines and force our job creators and innovators to leave our state to survive," Rauschenberger said.

Cancel phase-out of costly corporate franchise tax: $30 million

Only 16 states still have "capital stock taxes" which tax businesses on their net worth regardless of whether the business is profitable, according to the Tax Foundation. "These taxes impair economic growth in the best of times, but during an economic contraction they are particularly harmful to businesses struggling to remain viable," the Tax Foundation said.

Illinois confusingly refers to its capital stock tax as the “corporate franchise tax,” even though it has nothing to do with franchise businesses. Complying with the tax law is complicated and comes with high compliance costs that are particularly difficult for smaller businesses to manage. The cost of complying with the tax is more than many businesses owe to the state.

The tax was scheduled to phase out over four years before being fully eliminated in 2024 under a law passed in 2019.

Though Pritzker touted the elimination of this tax as an accomplishment of his first year, he is now proposing to reverse the change.

Eliminate credit for creating construction jobs: $16 million

The Blue Collar Jobs Act passed in 2019 created new tax credits to incentivize the creation of construction jobs. Eligible businesses would be able to take a credit worth 50% of the new payroll taxes withheld as the result of a construction job created. That credit rose to 75% if the job was created in an economically distressed area.

Reduce tax scholarship credit for disadvantaged students: $14 million

State lawmakers passed the Invest in Kids Act in 2017 as part of an overhaul of the education funding formula. The program is the state’s first-ever school choice program, and among the largest in the nation. It gives disadvantaged students a chance to go to private schools by giving scholarship donors a 75% tax credit for their donation towards state taxes, incentivizing those donations.

Only students within 300% of the federal poverty line are eligible for the scholarships, and the neediest students are prioritized first.

Pritzker wants to reduce the value of the credit to 40%, which would inevitably mean fewer scholarships available for low-income students.

Empower Illinois, a non-profit that helps match students with scholarships and the appropriate school, responded: "During this challenging time, kids need more quality education options, not fewer. And while Illinois’ financial challenges are significant, the State should not balance its budget on the backs of children from low-income and working-class communities or the schools that serve them so well."

Adam Schuster is the Senior Director of Budget and Tax Research at the Illinois Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization that promotes responsible government and free market principles. This story was originally published on February 24, 2021.

Basketball Players of the Week

February 14 - 20, 2021

Sentinel basketball player of the week February 1-6, 2021

~ Boys ~



Kimball tallied 30 points and five rebounds against Paxton-Buckley-Loda and February 20 after dropping another 22 in his team's home court loss to St. Joseph-Ogden.

Honorable Mention:
Nate Drennan, Unity
Evan Ingram, SJO
Ty Pence, SJO

~ Girls ~


St. Joseph-Ogden

Wells led the area girls in scoring with 25 points during Valentine's week. In the Spartans road loss to Tuscola, Wells went 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

Honorable Mention:
Chloe Reed, Unity
Taylor Henry, Unity
Ella Armstrong, SJO

SJO picks up second victory in as many days

After squeaking by Unity the night before 58-51, the Spartans got up the next morning and hit the road to Robinson (3-4) for a non-conference game. Behind the one-two punch of Ty Pence and Evan Ingram, St. Joseph-Ogden closed the book on the contest, 53-43.

Head coach Kiel Duval credited his team's "limiting turnovers and (having) a couple guys stepping up and hitting big shots" as the key factors securing the W on Saturday, February 20. He add, "Ingram and (Andrew) Beyers gave us a huge lift with some big time shots."

A tough game the night before and a long bus ride less that 12 hours later for the Spartans did not lead to a very impressive start against the Maroons.

"I wasn't impressed in the first 3 minutes of the game with how we came out of the gates. We were not ready to play right away," Duval said. "(We) didn't lock into the scouting report or details that we talked about before the game."

After Robinson's Jeff Goble banked one in from inside the free throw lane to put the first digits on the scoreboard, Jackson Rydell found net for the first SJO bucket on a pass from Ingram to tie the score at 2-all in the first quarter.

The Spartans sloppy play contributed to a five point deficit, falling behind 10-5 at one point in the period. During a timeout Duval reminded each player of their role and strategy that was laid for the game. Their focus where it needed to be, the team got it into gear.

"We responded well after that," Duval said. "(They) got stops - made some big buckets when we needed them."

In the final 2 minutes and 14 seconds of the quarter SJO clawed their way back into the contest. Outscoring the Maroons 9-5 and still behind on the scoreboard, the Spartans trailed by one to start the next quarter, 15-14.

The second quarter looked much like first with Robinson pulling ahead by five again. And once again, St. Joseph-Ogden played catch-up basketball until the last 1:10 of the half when a Luke Hutcherson shot passed through the rim to give his team a 24-23 advantage.

The lead was short-lived. Fifty-some seconds later Goble, who finished the game with a team-high 12 points for the Maroons, hit a jumper from in front of the free throw line to give his team a 25-24 halftime lead. Gobel went on to lead his team's scoring effort with 12 points and secured nine of team's 25 total rebounds.

After the two teams returned to play the second half, St. Joseph-Ogden would go on to outscore the Robinson 29-18 to stretch their perfect record to 5-0.

Pence led all scorers with 16 points for the Spartans, eight of those from inside the free throw lane. The sophomore had 10 rebounds and was credited with one assist.

Ingram led the team in steals with two and qualified as the game's second leading scorer with 13 points. Beyer added another needed 12 points to the SJO cause.

Box Score

Robinson 15 10 5 13 - 43
St. Joseph-Ogden 14 10 14 15 - 53

Gilmore 3 (0) 4-4 -- 10, Goblee 6 (0) 0-0 -- 12, Jackson 4 (0) 0-0 -- 8, Johnson 0 (1) 0-0 -- 3, King 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, N. Weber 0 (1) 0-0 -- 3, Shindler 2 (0) 3-5 -- 7.

St. Joseph-Ogden
Brazelton 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Costa 0 (1) 0-0 -- 3, Hutcherson 2 (1) 0-2 -- 7, Smith 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Burch 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Grindley 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Wetzel 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Rydell 1 (0) 0-0 -- 2, Beyers 4 (0) 4-4 -- 12, Atwood 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Pence 4 (1) 5-7 -- 16, Ingram 0 (4) 1-2 -- 13.

Spartans remain undefeated, Kimball a major threat for the Rockets

In game three of the season, the St. Joseph-Ogden boys basketball team was poked and prodded like a patient with a unexplained, sudden lump on their side by a 16th century physician. Despite giving Unity ample opportunities to end their Illini Prairie Conference contest with a loss, the Spartans hung on to win the thriller at the Rocket Center, 58-51.

The Rockets got the first basket of the game and enjoyed their only lead of the conference contest for a brief moment. It lasted until SJO's Ty Pence took control of the ball in Unity territory, dribbled it down the floor past two defenders to score on a layup making the score 2-all.

SJO went on a scoring spree tallying seven more points for 11-2 run before the Rockets' Austin Langendorf drilled a pair of free throws that marked the start of a short rally for his team.

Blake Kimball, the game's leading scorer, and Nate Drennen scored on the next two possessions to close the scoring deficit to three, 11-8. Kimball, whose was 9-for-18 overall performance proved to be a sharp thorn in the Spartans' side, finished the night with 22 points.

"He got in the lane almost every possession," said St. Joseph-Ogden head coach Kiel Duval about the junior guard's play. "We have to keep guys out of the paint because it never leads to good things for us. Kimball did a great job using his body and change of pace to put us on our heels. He was tough on Friday."

Late in the third quarter the Spartans doubled their five-point, 25-19 lead at half to eleven. Unity whittled it down to nine before the start of the final period of play.

He will not back down and he wants to hit the big shot.
The Rockets did a solid job of neutralizing SJO's primary offensive weapon Ty Pence.

The sophomore, in two games, has established himself as the defensive focal point for future opponent after scoring 24 points in his team's road season opener at Rantoul and easily collecting 40 against visiting Oakwood earlier in the week. He was big on the boards, too, securing 39 of them across two games.

But Friday, Unity head coach Matt Reed wisely chose to double team him, a move that limited Pence's output - he had just six first half points - to finish with a season-low 20 points.

Reed's strategy however, created an opportunity for SJO's Evan Ingram to step out of the shadows. The team's second leading scorer with 12 points, Duval says the junior guard has what it takes to be a top notch basketball player.

"I have said it from the beginning, I think Evan will be a very good high school basketball player. He has all the tools," Duval explained. Ingram was 2-for-2 from the charity stripe and hit two of his six shots in three-point territory. "Evan doesn't shy away from the big moment. He never has. He doesn't care if he is facing the #1 team in the state, all-state player, or a guy that is six inches taller than him. He will not back down and he wants to hit the big shot."

The coach added: "Those tools are starting to come together one at a time and that is why he is performing this year."

After starting the final quarter down 38-31, the Rockets made a gutsy come-from-behind effort behind Kimball and his two teammates Nate Drennan and Brady Porter. The trio positioned the team within range to tie the game score five times.

If you like reading SJO or Unity sports stories on The Sentinel, click the coffee cup below to buy us a coffee. Every cup gives us the energy to bring you great coverage of area athletics!

Buy us a coffee!
Support The Sentinel!
Buy us coffee
Unfortunately, SJO rebuffed each attempt mainly behind draining 13 of the 19 free throw opportunities in waning minutes of the game. Pence made six of his 11 free throws, including the last four of the game, while teammate Andrew Beyers went 4-for-4 and Ingram, who was successful on both of his opportunities at the line in the fourth quarter.

Drennan finished with 11 points for Unity, and chalked three steals and nine rebounds. Porter rounded out the Rockets' top three scorers with nine points.

Box Score

Unity 8 11 10 22 - 51
St. Joseph-Ogden 17 8 13 20 - 58

Kimball 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Cowan 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Hensch 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Rawdin 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Rutledge 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Knoll 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Porter 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Drennan 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Page 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Langendorf 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Alt 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Jokisch 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0.

St. Joseph-Ogden
Brazelton 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Costa 0 (2) 0-0 -- 6, Hutcherson 2 (0) 0-0 -- 6, Smith 0 (0) 1-2 -- 1, Burch 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Grindley 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Wetzel 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Rydell 3 (0) 2-5 -- 8, Beyers 1 (0) 5-5 -- 7, Atwood 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Pence 4 (1) 9-14 -- 20, Ingram 2 (2) 2-2 -- 12.

Guest Commentary: Relieve their burden, plan your funeral

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

A good friend died recently. At the age of 80 all his life insurance had expired and his savings was spent. His family, financially, were living from week to week. His failing health along with Covid-19 put him in an Intensive Care Unit for days apart from his family where he died. His hospitalization brought more bills and financial hardship for those left behind. Needless to say, there wasn't any money to pay for a casket, embalming, plot of ground and a grave marker.

His young adult son put together their dire scenario and sent it out to everyone his family knew. Within a week 103 friends had given $20,300 to momentarily rescue this family from their perilous situation. It was enough money to buy a casket, embalming, a plot of ground and a small grave memorial marker.

Do you have 103 friends who would give $20 to $2000 each to pay for your burial expenses?

When we are dead, we won't care.
I know I do not. Such an outpouring was a testimony to his life and the lives of so many he had touched. This story is a sad reminder that we must take prudent steps toward covering our burial/funeral costs.

I don't want my wife or children to have to figure it out after I'm dead. Often, we don't get a choice. We die way before we have time to make our final arrangements. This happens a lot. This is why we need to do it now or as soon as we can.

Another dear friend recently died very young. Her family was strapped for cash and went the rout of cremation. Cremation is costing between $2500 to $7500 depending on where you live. Not cheap. My Navy son said, "Dad, just cremate me and scatter my remains over the north Atlantic." I pray he lives to be a hundred and his grandchildren have to do that.

Some of you know my wife died back in 2002. Her funeral cost me about $10,000 and her grave plot was $600.

I was cash strapped at the age of 47. I had nothing but medical bills and a house payment. I wasn't prepared for a funeral, mentally or financially.

The only thing that saved me was a year before she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a good friend sold us small life insurance policies. He also talked us into paying extra for a disability wavier on the policy. The disability wavier was the only way I was able to maintain that life insurance policy which we used 13 years after he sold it to us.

It was the only way I could have paid for that funeral, unless I could have borrowed more money on my house. This was doubtful because I already had a second mortgage on the house from trying to pay other medical bills. I would have been hurting and probably would have had to go the cheapest route available for her funeral. It was simply the grace of God and a wise insurance agent who saved us in that respect.

My mother and father-in-law both died recently and their funeral expenses alone were over $14,000 each. Fortunately, they had saved enough money to cover these costs. You can spend less and you can spend more of course. The question is do you want your family to have to figure it out? Sit down with a trusted funeral director and begin making preparations now.

Decide which route you want to go. Decide how much you want to spend. You can plan everything. Pick out everything. Most likely pay for everything. Just make sure you are dealing with a very trusted funeral director.

Write out everything you want done including music, speakers and anything specific you want them to say. It's up to you of course. Make several copies of your wishes and what you have done. It's amazing how people lose stuff.

When we are dead, we won't care. We won't know, but we care now.

I know most of us care about those we leave behind. This is one way we can help them to know how and what we want done and relieve their burden by making the arrangements ourselves.


Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.


This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Sentinel. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Submit your letters to the editor or commentary on a current event 24/7 to editor@oursentinel.com.


3rd quarter adjustment saves SJO from Unity upset

For a little more than 19 minutes of clock time, the St. Joseph-Ogden girls' basketball team's undefeated record was in jeapordy. Entering the game with a three-game win streak to start the season, the Spartans were, by all accounts, the pre-game favorite against the 1 win - 3 loss visiting Unity Rockets.

Taylor Wells takes aim during a free throw attempt in SJO's post-season game against Villa Grove-Heritage in 2020. Wells posted her first double-double of the year against the Rockets.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

With nearly half of the third quarter gone and a 19-17 score in the Rockets favor on the main scoreboard mounted on the gym's north wall, a three-point shot from Ella Armstrong gave SJO their first lead of the contest. The Spartans relenquished it briefly after Unity's Alysson England answered with field goal but regained the advantage with yet another trey from Armstrong on the way to a 47-29 Illini Prairie Conference win last Thursday.

For nearly two quarters Unity out-hustled and out-muscled their host. The three guards, Maddie Reed, Chloee Reed and Lauren Miller were busy bees forcing turnovers and ball control issues for SJO. Miller and Chloee Reed paired up, were credited with five steals.

"The girls came to play tonight," said Rockets' head coach Dave Ellars. "We had a couple days off due to the weather and I believe it helped our legs."

Unity played a solid first half preventing St. Joseph-Ogden from getting any offensive traction. Except for a 6-6 tie midway into the first quarter, the Rockets had the favored Spartans on the rope and kept them there until halftime.

"We did not play well in the first half," said SJO head coach Kevin Taylor concerning how his team started the game. "We were standing around too much against their zone and not moving the ball."

Taylor said he made a simple adjustment in his game plan for the second half.

"We switched up our offense to get more movement and we made an effort to get the ball inside where we had a big advantage in size," he said. "Our post play made really good decisions in the second half. Several times when we went to the post, they kicked it back out for an open shot."

We learned we can compete. I believe we will learn from this game.
The midgame tweak worked and allowed Armstrong score on three baskets for eight points pushing a four point deficit on the Rockets. Ashlyn Lannert extended the lead to nine points on a bucket and trey.

"SJO made a couple of adjustments and they made a few shots," Ellars said, explaining the shift in the game's momentum. "Due to SJO's size we wanted to try to help (our players) inside. She (Armstrong) made some shots in the second half."

Ellars was trying to keep the ball out of the hands of Taylor Wells. Wells finished the game with 12 rebounds and four assists.

"Taylor did a good job tonight using her size. She controlled the lane tonight with her defense and rebounding," Taylor said. "She also had several plays on offense where she found an open teammate when she was doubled-team in the post."

While she contributed just four points, Payton Jacob's presence on the court was crucial for the Spartans.

"Jacob always seems to be in the right spot at the right time. She had several key plays when we needed it tonight," he said about the junior starter. "There were a couple of key offensive rebounds and put backs that stood out to me."

St. Joseph-Ogden's top three scorers were Lannert and Wells with ten points apiece and Armstrong, whose four treys produced a game-high 16 points.

The Rockets offense was compiled by four players. Chloee Reed led the team with 10 points, England added in eight, Miller five and Maddie Reed chipped in three points. Miller led the team in rebounding with four. Miller and Chloee Reed had three apiece.

The loss withstanding, Ellars was happy with the way the team played.

"We learned we can compete," he said about his team. "I believe we will learn from this game. I was extremely pleased with our effort."

If you like reading SJO or Unity sports stories on The Sentinel, click the coffee cup below to buy us a coffee. Every cup gives us the energy to bring you great coverage of area athletics!

Buy us a coffee!
Support The Sentinel!
Buy us coffee
It takes a gritty team to gut check and turnaround a game in the last 11 minutes, especially when you trailed the first two-thirds of it. On the floor, on the bench or in practice, it also takes a group of dedicated fourth-year players willing to do the little things.

"If this team has any mental toughness it is because of the seniors," Taylor said. "Whether they played a lot of mins or just a few, they all are doing a great job trying to lead this team and are doing all the little things that go unnoticed by most.

I can't thank them enough for what they are doing. They were a big part of why we were able to comeback and have that big swing in the score."

Box Score

Unity 16 3 3 7 - 29
St. Joseph-Ogden 9 6 15 14 - 44

C. Reed 2 (2) 0-3 -- 10, England 4 (0) 0-0 -- 8, Renfrow 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Miller 2 (0) 1-2 -- 5, Stringer 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Steinman 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, B. Henry 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, M. Reed 0 (1) 0-0 -- 3, Moore 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Alagna 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, T. Henry 0 (0) 0-4 -- 0, Flesch 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0.

St. Joseph-Ogden
Lannert 2 (2) 0-0 -- 10, Walden 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Campbell 1 (0) 0-2 -- 2, Jacob 2 (0) 0-2 -- 4, Wells 5 (0) 0-0 -- 10, Hamilton 1 (0) 0-0 -- 2, Hug 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Behrens 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Smith 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Jones 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Hamilton 0 (0) 0-2 -- 0, Vallee 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Armstrong 2 (4) 0-0 -- 16.

Henry's rebounding effort not enough to save Rockets

Taylor Henry and the Unity girls basketball team suffered their second straight loss after a convincing win over Illinois Valley Central on February 8. Just a few days after picking up their first win of the season and despite another strong defensive rebounding effort while hosting the Knights of the Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond coop (ALAH), the Rockets dropped the non-conference game, 67-36.

Henry, a junior, tallied seven of the team's 18 rebounds and finished the game with seven points and one assist.

If was any consolation, the Rockets are just one of two teams to put up more than 35 points on the now 7-0 ALAH program this season.

Unity's scoring effort was spearheaded by Maddie Reed's nine points. The junior shooting guard found the rim three times out of six shots from three-point range. Her two buckets in the third quarter were the only field goals her team could muster when they could have used more.

Meanwhile, inside the arc sophomore Lauren Miller made 80% of her shots, going 4-for-5 to finish the game with eight points rounding out the top three shooters for the Rockets.

It didn't help Unity one bit that ALAH started the contest on fire. Their opponent dropped 16 points in the first quarter and tacked on another 20 in the second to Unity's first half total of 18 points, which was spread evenly across the two periods.

Knights' sophomore Charley Condill lead all scorers with 10 points at the intermission. She finished the game with 13 points, one of three players from her team in double figures.

In front of Condill in the scorebook was classmate Kailee Otto and her game-high 10 points. She went to finished with at game-high 16.

ALAH got another 10 points from Mackenzie Bowles to help sink the Rockets to a 1-4 record.

However, this week the Unity girls basketball team have two games on the schedule they can use to improve their record.

Tonight, the team welcomes 0-3 Olympia to the Rocket Center. Both games will be streamed on the NFHS Network. The JV contest begins at 5:30p and the varsity game at 7pm.

On Thursday, Henry and the Rockets will take a short bus ride to Monticello for another Illini Prairie Conference game. The Lady Sages dropped a 20-point decision last week to Tuscola, 58-38, and posted an IPC 58-39 win over Rantoul.

Box Score

Unity 9 9 8 10 - 36
ALAH 16 20 22 9 - 67

Reed 1 (0) 0-0 -- 2, England 2 (0) 1-2 -- 5, Renfrow 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Miller 4 (0) 0-1 -- 8, Stringer 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Steinman 2 (0) 1-2 -- 5, B. Henry 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Reed 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Moore 0 (3) 0-0 -- 9, Alagna 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, T. Henry 2 (0) 3-4 -- 7, Flesch 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0.

Frederick 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Condill 3 (2) 1-4 -- 13, Nichols 0 (1) 0-0 -- 3, Brown 4 (0) 4-2 -- 9, Seay 2 (0) 0-0 -- 4, Beachy 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Seegmiller 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, A. Miller 3 (0) 0-1 -- 6, Otto 5 (2) 0-2 -- 16, Bowles 4 (0) 2-2 -- 10, S. Miller 1 (1) 1-1 -- 6.

Basketball Players of the Week

February 7 - 13, 2021

Sentinel basketball player of the week February 1-6, 2021

~ Boys ~

Ty Pence

St. Joseph-Ogden

Pence open the season with an impressive double-double. The sophomore dropped 24 points and was credited with 20 rebounds in SJO's opener against Rantoul. Five days later, Pence scored 40 in the Spartans 66-52 win over Oakwood and added another 19 rebounds to his 2021 stats.

Honorable Mention:
Brady Porter, Unity
Evan Ingram, SJO
Blake Kimball, Unity

~ Girls ~

Ella Armstrong

St. Joseph-Ogden

For a second consecutive week, Ella Armstrong earns the POW honors after scoring a total of 20 points during the second week of the season. She was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line against Rantoul.

Honorable Mention:
Payton Vallee, SJO
Chloe Reed, Unity
Taylor Henry, Unity

SJO basketball games rescheduled

The St. Joseph-Ogden boys junior varsity and varsity basketball game against Bloomington Central Catholic, originally scheduled for Tuesday, will played on Monday, March 1, at St. Joseph-Ogden High School. The JV game will start at 5:30pm and the varsity contest to start afterwards according to an email from Activities Director Justin Franzen.

SJO's girls' JV and varsity teams play their postponed game on March 11 at Central Catholic. As with the boys times above, the junior varsity girls their game at 5:30pm. The varsity game will follow after a brief intermission and warm-up period.

All four games will be streamed on the NFHS Network for Spartan fans.

Game night! Unity hosts undefeated Spartan basketball team

Tonight's Illini Prairie basketball game between St. Joseph-Ogden and Unity has the making of being epic David and Goliath storyline.

After missing the first week of the COVID shortened season, the Spartans head into tonight's game 2-0 behind their newest marquee player Ty Pence. The sophomore has scored 64 points this season in just two games and SJO has a few other sleepers, namely senior Cameron Costa and 6-foot-2 forward Andrew Beyers.

Meanwhile, the Rockets are finding their stride back at full strength with junior Blake Kimball and senior Brady Porter. In their last appearance at the Rocket Center the pair's combined double-digit effort put 41 points on the scoreboard in the team 74-64 loss to Pontiac a week ago today. With a little help from Damian Knoll and Austin Langendorf, 0-4 Unity could pick up their first win of the season.

The one thing missing tonight is the intense atmosphere of the Rocket Center - filled with gray, maroon and powder blue along with smell of fresh popcorn - packed with fans cheering on their favorite team. Players on the floor will have to feed on the energy from their bench and the limited number of fans allowed to attend.

Here are tonight's schedule and direct links to the live streams:

Unity Girls 7/8th Volleyball vs Mt. Zion | 4:30 PM Central

SJO Boys Junior Varsity Basketball @ Unity | 5:30 PM Central

SJO Boys Varsity Basketball @ Unity | 7:00 PM Central

If you are not already a subscriber, follow this link sign up for a monthly or annual subscription to watch SJO or Unity sports via live stream or archived by the NFHS Network. Monthly passes are just $10.99 each or save 47% and purchase an annual subscription at $69.99.

How origami influences science

Guest Commentary by Rashmita Kashyap

Have you ever imagined the power of a piece of paper? Paper was said to be documented during the Eastern Han period (25 – 220 CE), when paper was primarily used for artwork, writing and for packaging staffs.

In 105 CE, Chai Lun, a Chinese court official has brought up the idea of paper. His paper making skills mainly involved fishnet, old rags, hemp waste and bark of trees.

During the 6th century, Buddhist monks carried the concept of paper making to Korea and Japan. In 1680, Ihara Saikaku, a Japanese poet first described Origami through butterflies. Origami is a compound of two Japanese words: "ori" meaning to fold and "gami" translates to "paper".

In 1797, Senbazuru Orikata, the first origami instruction book was published revealing several origami stories from Japanese culture.

Origami, the ancient art of Japanese paper-folding, has been used for creating stunning works of art for years, but we never focused on the fact that origami can be used in many practical applications like car airbags, stents and even in space applications.

Robert Salazar, a technologist from NASA said, "Seeing the single uncut sheet, it has everything you need to create all of the origami that has ever been folded. It is all in the single sheet so there is endless potential".

His endless efforts on paper-folding sheets have been appreciated at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The underlying mathematics of origami has proved an efficient technique of folding large thin sheets used in the biggest rockets in NASA, which is only 5 meters in diameter. Eventually, many space projects have used the folding principles of Origami like the solar array wings on the ISS (International Space Station) which uses a "Z" folding pattern and the Mars Phoenix lander used a fan - folded solar array, called the Ultra Flex.

Have you ever tried to take a picture of someone when the bright sun is beating down on them? Your subject is washed out and it is impossible to capture any detail.

Well, this is the same problem faced by astronomers while trying to image exoplanets.

For an earth-sized exoplanet orbiting a sun like star, they can’t be imaged in detail, because the stars they circle are much brighter than they are. This is when the Starshade comes in, to help suppress that bright light to better help astronomers learn more about these mysterious planets and look for bio signatures for life.

Starshade is roughly the size of a baseball diamond. So, the researchers came up with a way of folding these very large structures that can be launched into space inside a rocket. Once it gets into space it can unfold itself. This giant space flower, under development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, may look simple in design but not in mathematical implementation with a requirement of accuracy in millimetres.

Origami has been practiced on Earth for years, and scientists will continue to draw inspiration from it to help package big space structures more efficiently. From solar sails that use sunlight for propulsion, to sun – shades for space telescopes like Gaia, and the James Webb which was launched in 2019.

When it comes to the future of space exploration, if we want to think big we also have to think small.

About the author: Rashmita Kashyap is working as a training officer for the Indian government at Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in India. She has completed her master's from National Institute of Technology, Arunachal Pradesh and has authored several scientific journals for research proposals. She enjoys great food, likes to travel and have a passion for adventures in her leisure time.

Porter, Kimball combine for 41 points against Pontiac

Blake Kimball led all scorers with 21 points in Unity's home game against Pontiac last Friday. His lights out shooting spree, which included three back-to-back treys, along with a 20-point performance from The Sentinel's first-ever basketball player of the week Brady Porter, was not enough to detour their team's 74-64 loss to the Indians.

Three players were responsible for the Rockets' 11 three-pointers during the game. Kimball heaved in four, Porter, who was the only player to reach double figures before the half, had five and Damian Knoll chipped another two.

Pontiac had three players in double figures.

Logan Barnett led the Indians' scoring with 20 points. The sophomore finished the contest 8-10 from the free throw line. Junior Alexander Trevino had a 17 point effort. Both players found themselves on the foul line often in the final quarter of play where Trevino hit four of his seven attempts and Barnett went 7-for-8.

Senior Matt Murphy rounded out the Pontiac's top three scorers with 11 points.

Tomorrow night the Rockets (0-4) host Ty Pence and the 2-0 St. Joseph-Ogden Spartans. In his last two games, Pence is averaging 32 points per game. He had a single-game career output scoring 40 against Oakwood last night and put 24 on the scoreboard against Rantoul on the previous Friday.

Unity will also honor its three seniors and their parents.

Fans unable to gain admittance can watch the varsity game at 8pm on the NFHS Network.

Box Score

Unity 13 13 11 27 - 64
Rantoul 20 13 20 21 - 74

Kimball 3 (4) 3-5 -- 21, Cowan 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Hensch 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Rawdin 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Rutledge 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Knoll 2 (2) 0-0 -- 10, Porter 2 (5) 1-2 -- 20, Drennan 3 (0) 0-0 -- 6, Page 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Langendorf 3 (0) 1-3 -- 7, Alt 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Jokisch 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0.

Bauman 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Friedman 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Adcock 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Murphy 1 (2) 3-5 -- 11, Bauknecht 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Gerdes 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Cramer 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Brummel 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Davis 1 (0) 6-7 -- 8, Monahan 1 (2) 0-0 -- 8, Trevino 2 (3) 4-8 -- 17, Barnett 6 (0) 8-10 -- 20, Kuska 1 (0) 0-0 -- 2, Cheek 1 (2) 0-0 -- 8, Brummel 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0.

Vaccines for kids could be available by September according to Fauci

by Caroline Chen, ProPublica

Children as young as first graders may be able to get the coronavirus vaccine by the time school starts in September, presuming trials are successful in those age groups, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with ProPublica.

Photo: Matthew Henry / Burst

"We’re in the process of starting clinical trials in what we call age de-escalation, where you do a clinical trial with people 16 to 12, then 12 to 9, then 9 to 6," Fauci said. When asked what was the youngest age group that might be authorized for the vaccine by September, he said, "I would think by the time we get to school opening, we likely will be able to get people who come into the first grade."

As optimistic as Fauci is, several pediatricians and infectious disease experts said they wish the pediatric trials would move more quickly. In addition to restoring stability to the education system and parents’ work schedules and keeping kids and those around them safe, vaccinating children is essential to helping the country, as a whole, reach herd immunity and decrease the threat of new variants.

Otherwise, “we’re going to have tens of millions of individuals in our communities that are able to maintain the virus. And when that happens, what that allows is for these unusual variants to emerge that may have the ability to evade our immunity,” said Dr. Buddy Creech, associate professor of pediatrics and director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program.

Despite the need, Pfizer is the only manufacturer whose pediatric vaccine trials are far enough along to potentially have data on elementary-school age children by the end of the summer.

Pfizer has finished enrolling participants in its study of 12- to 15-year-olds and anticipates having data in “the early part of 2021,” according to a spokeswoman. "From there, we will plan to finalize our study in 5-11 year olds," she added. As Pfizer completes its trials in adolescents, then 5- to 11-year-olds, it’ll need to submit the data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for review and get authorization for the vaccine’s use in those age groups before it’s available; currently in the U.S., the vaccine is indicated only for those ages 16 and up.

Moderna is still enrolling participants in its trial for adolescents ages 12 to 18, and it is "on track to provide updated data around mid-year 2021," the company said in an emailed statement. Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive officer, has said that the company’s goal is to have data from the adolescent study in advance of the 2021 school year. Moderna said it’ll begin an age de-escalation study in children ages 11 years to 6 months this year, but Bancel has said that the company doesn’t expect clinical data until 2022.

Johnson and Johnson hasn’t started any pediatric studies yet. "We are in discussions with regulators and partners regarding the inclusion of pediatric populations in our development plan," a spokesman said. Novavax, similarly, hasn’t begun any trials in children, and a company spokeswoman said it couldn’t share any details at this time. The University of Oxford, which partnered with AstraZeneca in developing a vaccine, will begin tests in 12- to 18-year-olds next month, according to Bloomberg News. The American Academy of Pediatrics has been "really advocating to try and make these trials happen with the same urgency that they happen for adults," said Dr. Sean O’Leary, who is vice chair of its committee on infectious diseases.

The manufacturers will need to prove vaccines are safe and effective in younger bodies. The adult trials paved much of the way, but researchers still need to study how kids’ immune systems react and to confirm the optimal dosage. And even if the shots are authorized by September, there will need to be enough supply on hand in order to get school children immunized before school doors open.

It’s essential to act expeditiously, O’Leary said. "I would love to see a vaccine available for all children in time for the next school year."

Why It’s Important to Vaccinate Kids Against COVID-19

Early on in the pandemic, some thought that children might be entirely immune. That's clearly been disproven. Out of more than 20 million U.S. cases where age information is available, about 2.2 million, or 11%, have been in children under 18. Some get very ill, though this is rare. As of Feb. 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tracked more than 2,000 cases of what’s known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a serious condition associated with COVID-19 that can result in cardiac dysfunction and kidney injury; 37% of the cases recorded were in Latino children and 32% in Black children.

It’s also become evident that children are capable of transmitting the virus to some extent. On one hand, kids aren’t superspreaders: COVID-19 is clearly dissimilar to influenza or the common cold virus, Vanderbilt’s Creech pointed out. “You put one of those in a classroom, then in a few days, it’s overrun,” he said. “That’s not what we see with COVID.” But exactly how infectious children are remains somewhat unclear, in part because schools have not been fully open, making it hard to gather data, said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a pediatrician and professor of global health and infectious diseases at Stanford University. Studies from other countries, while informative, may not always extrapolate well to the U.S., she added.

So while the "preponderance of data" points to children being less likely to infect people when compared with adults, "they certainly do," said O’Leary, who is also a professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “So, if you’ve got vulnerable people in the household and your 7-year-old comes home with COVID, it’s not to say they can’t give it to anybody else. They absolutely can. It’s just a bit less likely.”

It’s important to note that the vaccines have only been proven — so far — to prevent disease and not infection (data on that is harder to gather and takes longer to prove), which means it’s not guaranteed yet that vaccinated individuals can’t spread the coronavirus.

But there are some inklings of hope that vaccination can at least reduce onward transmission. So if this bears out, the more people who are vaccinated in a community, including children, the more likely transmission will drop overall.

"Our current chaos about children not being in schools is just terrible for children, and I think a lot of the concern would be assuaged if children were immunized," said Dr. Sarah Long, professor of pediatrics at the Drexel University College of Medicine. "That doesn’t mean to me that they can’t get the infection or transmit it every once in a while, but it would reduce those possibilities tremendously."

Long is also a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, where she has been reviewing the trial data and helping to make recommendations on how the vaccines should be used. She continued: "There are real virus control reasons, there are real societal reasons and there are economic reasons, because if children can’t go to school, people can’t work."

O’Leary said children as young as 6 months, which is the youngest age that Moderna plans to test, can get vaccinated so long as trial data shows the vaccines to be safe and effective. Infants under 6 months are likely to be protected by antibodies transferred through the placenta if the pregnant mother is vaccinated, he added.

How the Vaccine Will Be Studied in Kids

The pediatric vaccine trials will not be as large as the final stage adult trials, which enrolled 30,000 or more participants, giving a placebo to half and the vaccine to half. Pfizer’s 12- to 15-year-old study has enrolled 2,259 participants and Moderna’s adolescent trial is a similar size, aiming for about 3,000 participants. In both trials, some teens will receive a placebo.

That’s enough to prove safety and benefit, experts said, in part, because the adult trials have already paved the way. To show the vaccine is safe, among the many things that Pfizer is tracking includes the percentage of participants reporting “local” reactions such as pain at the injection site, redness and swelling, as well as the percentage of participants reporting systemic reactions such as fever, headache, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and joint pain.

After the trials are completed, tracking for any safety issues will continue in the real world as physicians and patients will be encouraged to report to the FDA and CDC any side effects they think may be due to the vaccine.

Doctors said they’d want to make sure that there are no signs that the vaccine overinflames the immune system or causes any allergic or autoimmune responses. "I think most people that are developing these vaccines feel like the vaccine is not going to trigger MIS-C, but it’s something that will be monitored for very closely both in the trials and more importantly, post-licensure," added O’Leary, from the University of Colorado. Maldonado said she’ll also be on the lookout for any cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is often a concern when it comes to vaccines, but she noted that no significant increases in cases were seen in any of the adult trials.

When it comes to proving benefit, the pediatric trials will focus on a different metric than the adult trials. The adult trials’ primary efficacy measure was to compare how many vaccinated people wound up sick with COVID-19 symptoms compared with those who received the placebo and whether the vaccine impacted the severity of illness. Since children rarely are hospitalized due to COVID-19, the vaccine’s ability to reduce severe cases would be hard to measure unless the trials enrolled an enormous number of children.

Instead, Pfizer’s and Moderna’s adolescent trials will focus on evaluating participants’ immune response by measuring antibodies, according to Pfizer’s spokeswoman and Moderna’s clinical trial website.

Scientists haven’t yet identified an "immune correlate of protection," which is usually defined to be the level of antibodies in the blood at which they can feel confident that a person is going to be protected from infection. Some vaccines that have been approved, like the one for measles, have an immune correlate of protection identified, while others don’t.

In the absence of a definitive immune correlate of protection, the trials would compare antibody levels in children with those found in adults and extrapolate that the efficacy should then be similar. The FDA and advisory groups like the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices would then need to discuss whether the evidence is compelling. If scientists are able to identify an immune correlate of protection, however, “and you can demonstrate that kids get that with the vaccine, that’s even more satisfying,” O’Leary said.

One final difference in pediatric studies is the potential for lower doses. Moderna has said that it will run its studies of children under 12 testing lower doses first.

"As we go down in age, we give the smallest possible dose of vaccine that we think is reasonable, and then we steadily increase until that point when we get that magic ‘Goldilocks’ level at which it works great and the side effects are tolerable," Vanderbilt’s Creech explained. " don’t think one dose fits all."

A Call to Speed Pediatric Trials

Some pediatricians and infectious disease experts said they were eager for pediatric studies to move faster.

"My understanding is that the entity formerly known as Operation Warp Speed had a lot of involvement with those adult trials, but with pediatric clinical trials, they’re not having the same degree of involvement," O’Leary said. "So it’s more up to the manufacturers, and from my perspective, these manufacturers don’t have the financial incentive to conduct these trials with the same urgency that they did with the adult trials."

Stanford’s Maldonado added that she’s concerned that there’s not as much pressure on the manufacturers to recruit children of diverse backgrounds as there was for the adult trials. "I think it’s important to get those kids in to understand factors around the actual vaccine and also to get buy-in of those communities where we’re seeing more hesitancy. We want to make sure they are feeling comfortable about being represented," she said.

While O’Leary is not as confident as Fauci that we’ll see Pfizer’s data on younger kids by September, he feels very optimistic about the availability of a vaccine in the coming months for kids as young as 12, who tend to get sicker than the younger age group. "I think that’s a really big deal," he said.

This story was originally published by ProPublica on February 11, 2021. ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

Rival girls teams meet on the hardwood, SJO vs Unity tonight

The undefeated St. Joseph-Ogden girls basketball team host the Unity Rockets tonight with both a junior varsity and varsity contest tonight. Both games along with Unity Middle School boys basketball's home game against Marshall are available this evening on the NFHS Network.

Here are tonight's games and links to the live streams:

SJO Girls Junior varsity Basketball vs Unity | 5:25 PM Central

Unity Boys Middle School Basketball vs Marshall | 5:30 PM Central

Unity Girls Varsity Basketball @ SJO | 6:57 PM Central

If you are not already a subscriber, follow this link sign up for a monthly or annual subscription to watch SJO or Unity sports via live stream or archived by the NFHS Network. Monthly passes are just $10.99 each or save 47% and purchase an annual subscription at $69.99.

Photo of the Day - February 18, 2021

Wrestler Nathan Johnson arches his back to avoid a pin

Major decision

St. Joseph-Ogden's Nathan Johnson arches his back to avoid a pin attempt by Bismarck-Henning's Zack Martin during their 125-pound third place match at the Argenta-Oreana IHSA regional meet in 2011. Johnson, who finished in fourth place, advanced to the sectional meet after battling to a 20-11 defeat.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Village Crier: Youth summer sport programs open for registration

Summer softball registration in St. Joseph closes soon

St. Joseph Summer Softball is now underway. This year's registration fee will include the $5 village fee. Parents will to register online with a credit card.

The program will not have a separate age division for girls four years-old or in kindergarten this year. The organization is encouraging parents with kids in the age group to play Bitty Ball or T-Ball through the St. Joseph Youth Baseball program.

Questions can be sent by email to stjosephsummersoftball@gmail.com. Registration closes on February 21.

Unity FFA pork chop lunch next week

The Unity FFA is celebrating FFA Week next week with their annual pork chop lunch. The drive through service will take place on the UHS east drive on Wednesday, February 24 from 11:00am - 12:45pm. Pork chop sandwiches are $5 each with proceeds going toward supporting the FFA program. Customers can get a meal deal for an additional $2, which will include chips, drink, and cookies.

Sidney summer ball sign up this weekend

Sidney Baseball/Softball/Tball signups will be held this Saturday from 10am to 12pm at the new Sidney Community Building located at 211 E Main Street in Sidney. An additional sign up day is scheduled for February 22 from 5:30-7:30pm. Ages groups are ages five and six for T-Ball and ages 7-15 for baseball and softball athletes. Registration cost is $55.

Questions or if parents are unable to make it to the in-person registration dates, they are encouraged to send a message to (217)649-7450.

Annual Chili Dinner in Sidney next week

The Sidney Fire Protection District will host its annual chili dinner on February 27 at the new community building, located at 211 East Main, from 4-7pm. The dinner will be available only through drive-through service. Toppings, hotdogs and drinks will be provided with the meal.

Sidney Fire Department cancer awareness shirts will also be available for purchase. Donations help support the local district's firefighter association.

Spots still available in Tolono virtual raffle

The Tolono Firefighters Association is doing a virtual raffle for a $500 Allen Meats Gift Card. Tickets for the drawing are $10 a piece and limited to the first 100 sold. Tickets can be purchased through Venmo or PayPal.

As of yesterday there were 34 tickets still available for the drawing. For more information visit the Tolono Firefighters Association page on Facebook.

Area COVID cases dips to 3-month low

Yesterday there were just 46 active Coronavirus cases across the six villages The Sentinel covers. The last time there fewer than 50 active cases in our area was back on November 13 of last year. A day later, that number surged to 60 and continued to rise from there to a peak of 142 active cases on several days.

The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District reported the number of cases rose by five today.

The agency's dashboard now includes mortality data for Champaign County. Out of the 1,427 cases identified in our area, eight individuals lost their lives to the virus. Two individuals from Ogden, four from Tolono along with one resident from Sidney and St. Joseph succumbed after being infected. As of today, 123 county residents have died from the viral infection since March of 2020.

Put it On The Market

Do you have a home for sale in one of our six communities? The Sentinel would like to highlight it in the upcoming new local real estate feature called On The Market.

Each calendar week our online paper will pick a residential property from those submitted for consideration to promote to our audience. With over 700 readers daily, The Sentinel hopes the new section will direct more potential buyers and competitive offers to sellers in our area. For more submission information, sellers and agents can contact us at editor@oursentinel.com.

Show us your art

We know there are more artists in our area. We just haven't met you yet but would enjoy seeing fruits of your creativity. If you paint, draw, sculpt or do metal work, The Sentinel would love to feature your work and share your artistic talent. Do you spend hours at the potter's wheel, dabble in mixed-media, do glass-work or design jewelry pieces? We would like to hear from you.

If you are interested in having your work featured in a story, please send a brief bio in an email with a link to your website or a online gallery featuring your work to editor@oursentinel.com. We very much look forward to sharing your passion and vision with our readers.

As time and space allows we will publish details for upcoming community events. Please send your business, social or community organization's press release or event information at least four days in advance to The Sentinel at editor@oursentinel.com.

Photo of the Day - February 17, 2021

Rockets wins shootout by 11

Unity's Nate Cain fights for a rebound with Cissna Park-Crescent-Iroquois' Quinn Steffen (right) at the Shootout at the Hall in Champaign on December 16, 2007. The Rockets beat the Timberwolves, 46-35.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

SJO basketball faces Oakwood tonight at home, catch the game online

Bundled up in front of the fireplace and want to catch a local sports team in action? Too sore to move off the couch after shoveling the 10+ inches of snow? Below are the links to each of tonight's available streams.

After weather forced yesterday's home game against Central Catholic to be postponed until later in the season, St. Joseph-Ogden made a last minute addition to their schedule about 16 hours ago. SJO will play host to the Oakwood Comets boys junior varsity and varsity squads tonight. Like all SJO home games this season, the contest will be broadcasted via live stream on the NFHS website.

A day earlier, the Spartan boys' program added a non-conference game on Saturday, February 20 with Robinson High School. The JV game is scheduled to start at 1:00 PM and the Varsity game after that at 2:30 PM on the road. Both games will be available via live stream.

If you are not already a subscriber, follow this link sign up for a monthly or annual subscription to watch SJO or Unity sports via live stream or archived by the NFHS Network. Monthly passes are just $10.99 each or save 47% and purchase an annual subscription at $69.99.

Sentinel area sports tonight

St. Joseph-Ogden Boys Junior Varsity Basketball vs Oakwood | 5:25 PM Central

St. Joseph-Ogden Boys Freshman Basketball @ Central Catholic | 5:55 PM Central

Unity Girls Middle School Volleyball vs Argenta-Oreana | 6:00 PM Central

St. Joseph-Ogden Boys Varsity Basketball vs Oakwood | 6:55 PM Central